Final Thoughts in 2019

I won’t have a New Year’s Resolution this coming year. I won’t because I’m already doing things to better myself. The last couple years haven’t been easy for me. Much of that was my own fault. Many things had to happen in order for me to notice. I felt I had hit rock bottom in early October 2019. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that low. Had I lost my job on top of everything else that happened, I’m not sure what I would have done. I almost lost everything in my life. My whole world went topsy-turvy.

Long story short, I was too negative for too long. It had built up over these last two years. I didn’t notice until it was too late. I lost motivation. I lost confidence in myself. I lost friendships. Since early October, I’ve been changing how I look at and talk to myself. It’s working. But I still have a long journey ahead. I filed for bankruptcy. My court date is in January. I had a couple student loans in default. I’ve gotten one out of default and the other is on its way out of default. Bankruptcy doesn’t affect student loans.

I’m being nicer to those close to me. Some chose not to be a part of my life because of the negativity. I hope the Universe brings them back into my life during the new year. I’m also being nicer to myself. I thought I was doing enough before to combat the negativity. But I feel short of the mark. I had to increase my efforts tenfold to see a difference. I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I can’t afford to go out to most things. Some things are too far for bus rides or I can’t afford the money for bus fare. I’m keeping an eye out for things to do so I can meet new people.

I relied on those close to me too much. I’m sure this is why they pushed me away. I’m doing more to keep myself occupied when I don’t have money for other activities. I’ve been using my camera more. I enjoy taking pictures. I’m reading and writing more. I’m doing as much as I can with what I have. Every night before bed, I write down three good things that happened to me that day and why they were important to me. This is the biggest thing that’s helped. I’ve done this every day for almost three months.

My journey has only begun. I have so far to go and no idea how long it will take. But I keep moving forward. I’m hunting for the good in things. I’m staying positive. I’m not allowing my thoughts to consume me. I’m getting by. I’m surviving. I’m not making a New Year’s Resolution because I’ve already made a resolution for life. And since I’ve already started, I have no fear of giving up. I’ve done this too long now to quit. While you all start something new and eventually stop, I’ll continue what I started. I’ll continue because I like myself. I love myself. And I deserve good things.

Coffee & Contemplation: New Book and Other Mishaps

So, I messed up last week. I scheduled my Fiction Friday post for last Friday along with my Flashback Friday post. Fiction Friday should have been today. I’ve had a weird couple of months, and I’ve been extra busy. A mistake was bound to happen at some point. Despite this mishap, I’m looking towards the future. I have many things in the works, and I’d like to share some of those with you all.

This past Tuesday, I released a new book. I didn’t advertise this much. It was more of a personal achievement. The book is called Mushaburui: A Mental Health Journey. This is nonfiction and autobiographical. I spent two years writing for a couple of blogs along with my personal blog. These are personal stories of things I was thinking and feeling at the time. I decided to publish them all together. I may write more and publish those as well. I wanted to see how far I’ve come. This will help push me to continue moving forward.

I still have a long way to go on this journey and writing has helped. I also have another collection of poetry releasing in January titled Cats, Coffee, Catharsis. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle. I have more details about this as we get closer to the release date. I’m also using some poems from past collections for a show I’m putting on in January. As part of the Tucson Fringe Festival, my show “Men Are Garbage” will feature poems from the collection of the same name. This is also helping me on my mental health journey as many of the poems are about personal experiences.

The show is on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 7:30 at Studio ONE. Get more details and tickets from the Tucson Fringe Festival’s Online Store. I’m both nervous and excited about this as I’ve never read my poetry for that long with no one else on stage. It will be an interesting experience.

The new year has a lot in store for me. I hope it does for all of you too. I hope you all enjoy the remainder of the year. Stay safe out there.

Coffee and Contemplation: What’s So Bad About Horror?

With the sequel to the film IT (2017) releasing soon, I’ve become impatient. After seeing the first film, I added this film to my top 5 favorite movies. I felt the horror film had finally gained some credibility. Despite the popularity, horror still gets a bad name. Horror films are rarely featured at film awards except for special effects of sound design. The only exceptions are true crime films about murder or serial killers. Nothing with creatures or other supernatural figures make the cut unless they’re animated children’s films. I’m certain there are other exceptions but I’m too lazy to do that much research.

The newest rendition of Pennywise is a great film. It’s written well and directed well. Coworkers and colleagues of mine said they didn’t like the film. Their reasoning was they like classic horror movies and that one felt too “blockbuster-y.” I disagree. Classic horror is great, but one cannot compare that to newer films. Consider each film separately without bias from previous films. What’s strange is the media’s take on the new film from Stephen King’s novel. Many media outlets and blog writers didn’t call the film horror. Instead they used terms like “psychological thriller” or “coming-of-age.” 

These terms are good descriptors, but the term horror must be included as well. Laura Bradley writes in her Vanity Fair Article (2017), “The new It movie, you’ve probably read time and time again, is a great coming-of-age story a la Stand by Me.” Other than both stories being from the mind of King and both stories being about kids, these two films don’t have much in common considering genre. Bradley goes on in her article to make some excellent points about how Beverly Marsh is portrayed in the new film. It is worth the read. But why doesn’t she call it a horror film.

Another interesting fact most people may not be aware of, on Instagram, the hashtag #horror has a disclaimer. When you search this hashtag, Instagram gives this message, “Can we help? Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.” Last time I checked, enjoying horror films, shows, or novels didn’t mean you wanted to harm yourself. Instagram is attempting to censor many industries including female fitness influencers. I wonder if this was how the censorship in Nazi Germany started. When did America become a fascist dictatorship?

My main question is why does horror get a bad rep? Yes, there are some lower quality films that use the objectification of women to make up for poor storylines and terrible makeup or special effects. That’s a generalization of the genre. It has other facets. There are some great films that often get overlooked because the audience said it wasn’t scary enough. The film Jennifer’s Body (2009) is a brilliant film. The dialogue is smart and fun. The story sounds like an overdone troupe but it all works well.

The film tanked at the box office ten years ago. The reviews from critics and regular movie goers were harsh. It’s making a comeback as a cult classic but there are at least two reasons for its failure. Number one, it was marketed as a horror film. This is not accurate. Constance Grady called the film what it is in her Vox Article (2018), a “feminist horror comedy.” It was funny with great social commentary. The only people who thought it was scary were stupid men and boys. They were scared of the idea of a strong female character who ate men. It made them uncomfortable.

Reason number two, 2009 wasn’t ready for the statement the film made. The scared men and boys influenced the ratings and reviews. There were still large groups fighting against homosexuality. The public opinions of Megan Fox and Diablo Cody were poor. It was the perfect storm of negativity. I thought this film was hilarious and loved every minute of it. Do people only allow themselves to like horror films once they’ve been around for a while? Is it not okay to like supernatural horror movies when they’re new?

What I want from filmmakers is for them to focus more on the story and less on trying to scare their audiences. Those troupes are overdone. I want a good story. Jennifer’s Body has a good story. IT has a good story. I recently saw Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) and it has a good story. I haven’t looked for any reviews. I wonder what others are saying. It is a great film and a great adaptation of the children’s books by Alvin Schwartz.

I want audiences to change their perspective of horror film as well. I want hardcore horror fans to accept all form of horror. Not just slasher films or creature features. I want those who dislike horror to stop generalizing the genre and give new films a chance. Is that too much to ask? I don’t expect people to change overnight. I hope people will surprise me.